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Retailers’ Handling Of Covid-19 Weighs Heavily On Christmas Purchasing Decisions

New research from Accenture New Zealand shows Kiwis plan on using their wallets to reward companies that looked after their staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The October survey of 777 New Zealanders found that half (50 per cent) will not shop with retailers that laid off staff or reduced benefits in relation to Covid-19.

Kiwis are also willing to reward retailers deemed to have treated staff and customers well. Half (50 per cent) of the survey respondents said they would be inspired to shop with a retailer that responded well to – and supported their staff and customers – during Covid-19.

Kiwis safety conscious

This festive shopping season Kiwis plan to prioritise shopping at those retailers that maintain a safe, hygienic store environment.

Over half (58 per cent) said they want hygiene and safety products available for public use while shopping instore. A similar proportion of Kiwis (57 per cent) want visibility of cleaning and sanitation practices while shopping instore.

While close to two-thirds (60 per cent) of Kiwis say they would shop in malls for their Christmas gifts, 18 per cent will stay away from the shopping malls because of health and hygiene concerns.

Heightened expectations of PPE use during lockdown

The early October survey was conducted during the last week of Auckland’s Level 3 and nationwide Level 2 lockdowns. As such it reflects Kiwi’s expectations at the time on retailers to have required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and mask wearing policies to combat a Covid-19 community outbreak.

39 per cent of respondents said they would be deterred from shopping in-stores where employees aren’t wearing appropriate PPE while 27 per cent said they likely wouldn’t shop in stores that didn’t make mask wearing mandatory for customers. 28 per cent would not of delivery drivers wearing masks.

81 per cent of Kiwis are supportive of contactless delivery options. 33 per cent said contactless delivery is an important factor in their decision making.

Kiwis will be conscious consumers this Christmas

According to the survey, Kiwis will be looking to minimise waste with their Christmas gift ideas this year. Close to two thirds of respondents say they are open to giving homemade while 76 per cent would happily receive homemade gifts this year.

67 per cent say they will shop more consciously for their Christmas meals to limit food waste while just over half (51 per cent) say they are more likely to make environmentally friendly, sustainable or ethical purchases.

Secret Santa appears set to be a popular option this Christmas. 50 per cent of Kiwis say they would be keen on Secret Santa gift exchanges to reduce the number of gifts and are open to receiving unwrapped gifts this year to avoid wasting paper.

Comment from Ben Morgan, Accenture New Zealand Managing Director

“The trend to conscious consumerism has been very noticeable in recent years. Retailers are increasingly under pressure to better reflect the values of their customers and be seen to act on things like climate change and sustainability.

“At the same time consumers are prepared to take action to reduce waste this Christmas, including making homemade gifts and reducing the amount of gift wrapping they use.

“What’s notable for 2020 is growing consumer awareness of how retailers treat their staff and customers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Kiwis want workers to be treated fairly and will use their purchasing power to reward, or punish, employers deemed to have acted unreasonably with regards to layoffs or reduced employee benefits.

“This year has been one of the most challenging for New Zealand retailers. Businesses had to reassess supply chains, establish new ways of connecting with customers, and support their people through uncertainty. As we close off 2020, those retailers who were able to pivot their businesses, double down on e-commerce solutions, and work to meet customers’ heightened expectations have positioned themselves well for the future.”

© Scoop Media

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